Workers at the state-owned Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) company have called on a mass strike.

Bahamas: Power and Light workers go on a mass strike

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Workers at the state-owned Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) company have called on a mass strike. This decision came following the Union’s demands to honor the terms and conditions in a recently signed collective agreement. The Union has also asked for an improvement in the general working conditions.

The agreement also has provisions for increases in pay in 2022, 2023 and 2024 successively. The pay increases in 2025 and 2026 are to be considered appraisals.

The Bahamas Electrical Worker’s Union though, had also voted to fix a monthly hazard pay and spoke of a lack of increments which, according to them are not a part of the industrial agreement signed on September 8, 2021. The president of the union, Kyle Wilson spoke of the overwhelming support in favor of the strike and mentioned a 99-percentile positive response.

In an interview where he delineated his views, he said the following, “Out of 1,000 plus yes votes from the three questions, less than 10 votes were no. We still await the final count. We expected some no votes from the alleged 100 plus friends, family and lovers they hired over the past two years. But even they seem to vote in support of the union.”

“We are tired of the disrespect, poor and unsafe conditions. BPL has become a friends, family and lovers club,” Wilson added.

The tensions began when the union issued a 30-day notice to BPL to address their concerns regarding pensions, benefits, hazard pay and poor working conditions among other issues. Wilson was clear that the union had attempted to resolve the issue through discourse but the management has been arrogant in its approach and has repeatedly pushed them towards legal proceedings.

“This was disrespectful and arrogant. We signed an MOU in August of 2021 stating we will work together and move issues from the court,” he said, adding “I was shocked to hear that statement from the leadership of BPL.

The President of the Bahamas Electrical Utility Managerial Union also spoke of their issues with the company, siting the fact that they had failed to sign a valid contract with BPL for the past 5 years.

He added that it was likely that his organization could call a similar strike very soon seeing as the issues have not been resolved. According to him the Union has been without an industrial experience since 2018, which is when the last one had expired.